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Five Finger Pitch in Screenplay
Which hand is more important; right or left? Conventional thoughts suggest that majority of people think right hand is more important for its habitual convenience of usage. Similarly many of us think that the thumb is more important than the other fingers in our hand. Indeed, thumb is the most important finger. Imagine how you type and it’s difficult to press the space bar without it. Likewise it’s difficult to pull the string of the bow to shoot an arrow without it. However, each finger has its own significant role to play. One can’t perform better without the others. It’s a perfect allegory in the field of screenwriting. Good film makers integrate these five elements known as genre, protagonist, goal, obstacle and the message of the story. According to the Professor of Screenplay Writing in the University of East Anglia Michael Langsfield describes these five elements as organic prerequisite to write a screenplay.
GENRE: Novels, Films, Dramas or even stories have got some thematic cohesion which we call a genre. It means we can’t mix a romantic stories with terrible crime scene. If we can that would be a new genre such as ‘absurd theme’ depicted in the mode of lack of communication. ‘Waiting For Godot’ is of such genre. Screenwriters first decide the genre that might be one of the following such as romantic, science fiction, drama, adventure, crime, biopic or history among others.
PROTAGONIST: This is somebody that audience match their emotional connection with deep rooted empathy usually called the hero of the story in the male dominant society or a Female Lead in the matriarchal society if at all it exists.
GOAL: Writers predetermine the destiny or the fate of the main character that is attributed as protagonist. (S)he has to reach there at any cost; be it the cost of lives. Without these end the story remains incomplete
OBSTACLES: Nobody can write a story without a challenging problem. Overcoming such problem makes the story comprehensive to human mind. Otherwise it would be the happy merrymaking description of five star vacation in a distant island resort with no issue but only fulfilment. Similarly no screenwriter can draft a movie without an obstacle that has universal appeal. More serious is the problem more the attention of the audience engage in the development of the happenings.
MESSAGE: It’s all about the lesson the story establishes in the mind of the spectators. Every story has a happy ending: they lived happily ever after. But to reach that climax one has to sacrifice a lot. The ultimate good thing makes people cheerful, optimistic and acceptable. It’s the most important aspect of the story that binds the audience with the writer’s motif.
Now look at the five finger organic pitch of the following and think of the viability of a movie.
The brief goes like this. Meteor: The Shooting Star is a melodrama about a challenged autistic child who wins gold medal in skating by virtue of his shadow teacher’s relentless effort. It’s an action driven story of the expatriate shadow teacher who was determined to train the severe autistic child that had no vocal communication in a mainstream school.
Neal B says:
your goal and obstacle are physical. you have no character arc when your story is based on physical goals and obstacles.
QUOTE:...". Every story has a happy ending: they lived happily ever after. But to reach that climax one has to sacrifice a lot. The ultimate good thing makes people cheerful, optimistic and acceptable"....

Not all. Some stories are tragedies.
Cara says:
I've gotten the 1 finger rejection ... not fun.
Clint Hill says:
Cara says: “I've gotten the 1 finger rejection ... not fun.”

Somehow, I just knew that zinger was coming.

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